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Group urges Nigerians to believe in electoral process






A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Voters Awareness Initiative,  on Friday urged  Nigerians to continue trusting in the nation’s electoral process in spite of some reported hitches experience during the just-concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections.


Convener of the group, Mr Wale Ogunade, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) in Lagos.


He enjoined Nigerians not to give in to apathy as a result of the challenges of the Feb. 23, but to massively exercise their franchise during the rescheduled Governorship and House of Assembly Elections  slated for March 9.


“We should be ready to go out to vote on March 9 to vote according to the dictates of our conscience and embrace peace ahead of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections,” he said.


Ogunade noted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar’s desire to contest the outcome of the presidential election in court was an indication that democracy was at work in the country.


“The presidential election has come and gone; a winner has emerged with the closest rival is saying he will be contesting the results by going to the court.


“Such move shows that he is a democrat; he has even urged his supporters to allow peace to reign. We need to commend him for that and maintain calm.


“Fortunately, the judicial process is no longer as cumbersome as it used to be as the issue in contention can be concluded within 180 days.


“To me, this is democracy at work and I urge Nigerians to support the country’s development.


“We pray that the judicial process will be followed to a logical conclusion so that Nigeria will be better for it at the end,” Ogunade said. (NNN)



Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Julius Toba-Jegede

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Women group advocate stiffer penalty for rapists to curb menace



Some concerned women in Lagos have joined other Nigerians to advocate for stiffer penalty for anyone found guilty of rape.

They spoke separately with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday bordering on the recent rise in rape cases in the country.

According to them, having stringent punishment such as death sentence would definitely reduce or stop the deadly act in the society.

Mrs Ruth Isibor, President of Catholic Women Organization, Saints Joachim and Anne parish, Ijegun, said that the act was becoming unbearable and posed threats to women and the girl-children.

Isibor said that government should consider death penalty as a law to serve as deterrent to other intending perpetrators.

“It’s high time strict measures were taken to arrest this evil act and unpleasant development in our society, I therefore, subscribe for death sentence on the rapists and offenders.

“At least other nonentities should have it in mind that when caught, they will face the law which boils down to loosing their lives for committing a grevious offence,” she said.

Mrs Ngozi Chukwuji, a grandmother, told NAN that some new generation of boys were committing abomination and toiling with their future by forcefully taking advantage of these girls.

“Everytime we hear cases of rape, girls being molested, abuse and all that, it is an abomination and the boys doing this have brought curse upon themselves already.

“But the government must begin to give this issue serious concern because it is gradually getting out of hand and parents are now scared of their girl child, ” she added.

She suggested that sending these heartless men to their early grave would scare intending rapists from conceiving the act.

A school proprietor, Mrs Ifesi Nwagu said that criminals would always give one thousand and one reasons why they committed such crimes for selfish reasons.

“There is no possible reason whatsoever that will make a man rape a woman especially minors when there are many commercial sex workers.

“Many commit this crime on daily basis and we don’t get to hear of it mainly because of the stigma attached to it and so prefer to suffer it by keeping quite,” she said.

Nwagu appealed to the government to ensure that these wicked acts against women was brought to halt by giving harsh and instant judgement such as castration the perpetrators.

She further advised private organisations and NGOs’ to support the government in eradicating this increasing inhuman act, adding that the girl-child and women were not objects for carnality.

A Gospel music artist, Mrs Paula Mbah however, recommended a non-optional life imprisonment for perpetrators.

Mr Nixon Adiri condemned the act, saying most guys that got themselves involved in such wicked act were heartless, jobless and beasts that should not be spared.

Edited By: Josephine Obute/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)



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AfDB Probe: Group tells Board of Governors not to compromise 



The Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP) has called on the Board of Governors, African Development Bank (AfDB), to ensure no compromise and bias in the probe of AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

Ms Mary Torunana, Chairman, Committee on Banking and Finance, Nigerian Youth Parliament at a news briefing, said the United States had requested the board to conduct an independent investigation on the 16-point allegations.

According to Torunana, NYP stands against any attempt to impune Adesina’s integrity and is sure he’ll be exonerated.

She noted that under the leadership of Dr Adesina, the bank had recorded tremendous successes, adding that he is, therefore, deserving of the support of African Leaders and youth organisations.

The US has been successful in infuencing the decision of the Board of Governors to conduct an independent investigation,  which is alien to the bank’s practices.

“We wish to remind the Board of Governors that the promoters of this independent investigation are not just attempting to frustrate the re-election bid of Dr Adesina but to undermine the independence of Africa, Africans and Africa’s development as a whole.

We call on the Board of Governors to ensure that the independent probe is unbiased and not compromised as we are sure that Adesina will be exonerated off all the allegations.

The NYP stands against any attempt to impune Dr Adesina’s integrity and his re-election efforts.

“He has greatly upturned the fortunes of the bank, thus, bringing about unprecedented growth not just to the bank but to Africa as a whole.

“These achievements are no small feat; therefore, he deserves all the support from African leaders, Youth organisations and the like.”

Torunana commended President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo for supporting and reaching out to other African leaders to support Dr Adesina.

She also urged African Youths to be visionary to build a united Africa that leads.

For his part, Mr Sultan Daniju, the Vice Chairman, Humanitarian Committee, Nigerian Youth Parliament, urged African Youths to stand up for a united Africa.

Daniju said that the parliament would abide by the decision of the board of Governors of AfDB to either carry out or not carry out an independent investigation of the president of AfDB.

He also said that whatever the outcome, NYP would continue to support Adesina, adding that, so far, he has the support of 51 African Leaders.

“For the United states, who is the second largest investor in the African development bank, single handedly calling for an independent investigation after the ethics committee of AfDB had cleared the president of the bank, is uncalled for.

The US has only done that because African leaders sold out over the years; that is why African youths must rise up and understand all these and stand and fight for a united Africa.

“As a Parliament, and as young persons, we believe in what is right.

“So, if the board of Governors of the bank deem it fit, in their own wisdom, to bow to the pressure and order for an investigative hearing, we would abide by it.

“But whatever the outcome, he is a Nigerian; we’ll give him all the support we have to give.

“Part of the allegation is that he favours Nigerians; if he is favouring Nigerians over other African nations, how come 51 African countries are supporting him right now,” Daniju asked.

The Vice Chairman said other African leaders would not be supporting him for another term, if the allegations were true.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)



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EU to launch 8 new environmental actions with local groups in Lebanon




The EU delegation in Lebanon will launch on Monday eight new environmental actions together with the Lebanese Environment Forum and Lebanese Eco Movement.

The EU remains committed to supporting Lebanon’s environment and people during the current challenging times, said a statement released by the EU delegation in Lebanon on Friday.

The initiative within the Bahr Bala Plastic project aims at alleviating the negative impact of plastics on fisheries, tourism, ecotourism, and marine biodiversity through building the awareness of citizens.

Another key action supported by the EU that is expected to come to life this month is the deployment of artificial reefs off the Lebanese coast.


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Remain vigilant on COVID-19, group urges govt, public



Integrity Elites, a non-partisan socio-political group, has advised the government not to let down its guard yet on the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Ademola Adegoke, the Media Coordinator of the group, gave the advice in a statement on Friday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Lagos and Osun states on Thursday lifted the ban on religious gatherings and warned on observance of the protocols.

Adegoke said there was need for citizens to be constantly reminded through mass orientation and enlightenment programmes that resumption of religious gathering should not be misconstrued as victory in the fight against COVID-19.

“The fight against COVID-19 is one not to be left for government alone. It is a fight for all and should be viewed as such.

“The resumption of religious gathering requires that government at various levels should up their game in the enforcement of adherence to all protocols set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and NCDC toward flattening the curve in the spread of the disease.

“The citizens should also realise that the reality of the disease staying longer than initially envisaged is staring at all in the face.

“Consequently, securing eventual victory over the disease will require the concerted effort of all and sundry, regardless of class or social status,” he said.

The group coordinator appealed to citizens to take personal responsibility for their safety and observe all guidelines as prescribed by appropriate authorities.

He urged religious bodies to continue to enlighten members not to relax yet in keeping personal hygiene and safety rules to forestall situation that could mar government good intention in lifting the ban.

Adegoke, however, warned that negligence could cause reintroduction of restriction on religious gathering.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)






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COVID-19: Enugu Govt calls for prayers, as religious group donates palliative



Mrs Cecelia Ezeilo, the Deputy Governor of Enugu State has called on religious leaders to seek God face over COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world.

Ezeilo made the call when she received cartons of hand sanitiser at the Enugu State Government House from a religious group under the umbrella, Igbo Christian Restoration Assembly (ICRA); South East in Enugu on Friday.

She thanked the religious group for coming to assist in the fight against the deadly pandemic.

”I understand that you are here to handover these cartons of hand sanitiser to the government to help curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

”The fact that you people feel the pains of your brothers and sisters motivated the move to donate this palliative.

”As we accept this palliative, we also call for your prayers because our hope is only on God to take this pandemic away from the state, Nigeria and the world at large,” the deputy governor said.

In his speech, the National Coordinator of ICRA, Bishop Obi Onubuogu, congratulated the state government for witnessing low case of the pandemic.

”We are here today to present to the state these items in support of the fight against COVID-19.

ICRA also wish to congratulate the governor and the good people of Enugu state as we celebrate God’s safety and His preserving grace in our state.

”God has been with the state since the outbreak of this global pandemic called COVID-19.

”We are happy with the government for its strategic steps taken in checking the spread of the pandemic which has resulted in very few number recorded cases in the state,” he said.

He said that it was on record that all the cases in the state were imported from outside.

We thank God also for the treatment and discharge of almost all the recorded cases,’’ he said.

The coordinator said that the group believed in what the state government was doing against the pandemic and to keep people of the state safe.

He said that the group wished to congratulate the members of the state task force led by the deputy governor, saddled with the responsibility of combating the pandemic.

”We enjoin the entire people of the state to continue to cooperate with the state government as we battle this evil pandemic of our time together,’’ Onubuogu said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that present at the presentation were, Commissioner for Transport, Mr Matthias Ekweremadu, Chairman House Committee on Information, Mr Jeff Mbah and Executive Secretary to the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Mrs Nkechi Eneh.

Others were Commissioner for Inter-Ministerial, Mrs Mabel Agbo, Special Adviser to the governor on Agriculture, Mr Mike Ogbuekwe, among others.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Group decries loss of over N5m worth of rice to movement restriction



The Nigeria Farmers Group and Cooperative Society (NFGCS) has decried the loss of over N5 million worth of rice to restriction of movement occasioned by COVID-19.

The National Coordinator of the group, Mr Retson Tedheke, made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.

Tedheke said one of its trucks, conveying rice from Nasarawa state to Lagos state, took 28 days to get to and fro its destination due to hitches encountered at several checkpoints across states.

According to him, the development led to the rice being exposed to rainfall, leading to destruction of over 233 bags.

He expressed concern over the development in spite of existing Federal Government guidelines on free movement of agricultural products.

According to him, many farmers have lost millions of naira to the development, which he described as unfortunate.

“There is no restriction on movement of agricultural products, however, when you get to the road, it is a different ball game.

” The security agents on the road do not care, making life unbearable for farmers.

“Until government begins to make example of these officers, who do not have recourse to regulations, we will not go far in this country.

“We contacted relevant authorities, but what happens usually is that they follow up, which is a good thing.

“However, our drivers sometimes get to locations where they cannot be reached on network and these things happen in such places.

As I speak, there are several trucks carrying agricultural products that are stranded at the various checkpoints across the country.

“You can imagine those carrying perishable goods, and we know time is of the essence when it comes to some agricultural products,” he said.

According to the coordinator, coming from Keffi, in Nasarawa state, to Abuja takes several hours because of the numerous checkpoints.

“So, you can imagine what people go through across the country. It is a situation that needs urgent attention,” he said.

Tedheke said if the situation was not well handled while the COVID-19 pandemic lasted, there might be food shortage across the country, leading to hunger and starvation.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Federal Government had on April 24 inaugurated a seven-man Joint Technical Task Team on Emergency Response to COVID-19.

The team was inaugurated to ensure unrestricted movement of agricultural products across the country, following complaints by farmers of restriction of agricultural products across states.

The seven-man task team is chaired by Austin Agbonlahor, the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in-charge of Operations.

Edited By: Moses Solanke/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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COVID-19: Group sensitises physically-challenged persons on preventive measures



The Coalition of Humanitarian Organisations in Kaduna has embarked on sensitisation of the physically-challenged persons on strict adherence to the COVID-19 preventive measures.
Mr Haruna Obadiah, the organisation’s Chairman in the state, said investigations had shown that the physically-challenged persons were the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the sensitisation exercise was organised to enlighten leaders of the physically-challenged persons from all the 23 local government areas of the state.
“We have sensitised them so that they can go back and meet their members to raise more awareness on various preventive measures against the virus that is killing several people worldwide,” he said.
Obadiah said that his team was at the rehabilitation centre to create the COVID-19 awareness among those who had been neglected since the outbreak of the virus.
He said that the meeting was an opportunity to engage them, especially the uneducated ones among them as well as the deaf and the dumb, on how to adhere to the NCDC precautionary guidelines.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Agada Simon, the National President, Life Anchor International, said that the meeting was aimed at discussing the challenges facing the association, with a view to proffering solutions.
Simon said that it was imperative to inform the physically- challenged persons about COVID-19 and the need to safeguard themselves and their family members from the pandemic.
“We want you to know that you are important in the world and that is why God created you. Our job here is to enlighten you about COVID-19.
“This is the first meeting and we will be coming again with some other health experts, specialists and stakeholders.
“Our job is to see that you are also carried along in all issues relating to information dissemination as every other person in the society,” he said.
Responding, Hajiya Hajara Nasiru, the state Chairperson of the Deaf and Dumb Women, thanked the organisation for recognising them as citizens of the state.
Nasiru said that it was obvious that many deaf and dumb were not well-informed about the COVID-19 pandemic and other developments in their communities.
She called on other stakeholders to emulate the organisation’s gesture by making information on COVID-19 available to the physically-challenged persons in rural and urban communities.
In his remarks, the state Chairman of the Albinos, Malam Abubakar Adamu, said that his members were the worst hit due to stigmatization and lack of awareness.
Adamu called on the federal and state governments to always involve the physically-challenged persons in their development plans.

Edited and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Kwara 1st Lady distributes face masks to groups



The First Lady of Kwara, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, has donated over 2,000 face masks to various  professional, religious and political groups to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

A statement issued by her Chief Press Secretary, Mr Adeyinka Adeniyi, on Friday in Ilorin, said the donation was in readiness for the gradual resumption of activities in public places in the state.

Adeniyi said the masks were distributed through the first lady’s initiative, Ajike People’s Support Centre, to over 100 groups.

He said that each of the groups got between 20 and 40 masks, adding that the group leaders collected the commodity on behalf of their members.

“As public places gradually resume business, the face mask is intended to provide some measure of protection for the beneficiaries, in the course of conducting their businesses.

The First Lady enjoins people to make use of the protective gear, to stem the spread of the virus, while the restrictions imposed by the government lasts,” the statement read in part. 

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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World Environment Day: Group urges collective efforts to protect biodiversity



An environmental rights focused group, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), has  called for urgent and collective efforts to protect and preserve biodiversity.

The Foundation in a statement issued on Friday to commemorate the World Environment Day, stressed the importance of biodiversity and the need to preserve it.

HOMEF in the statement signed by its Project Officer, Mfoniso Antia, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria , noted that biodiversity was a fundamental part of a healthy ecosystem.

“Biodiversity is life. It is the hanger that sustains human existence. It helps maintain the balance of ecosystems and keeps them functioning and self-sustaining. A continued destruction of biodiversity will mean a distortion of the balance of life.

“Food production systems depend on the diversity of organisms including the plants, plant eaters, carnivores, decomposers (microorganisms) and the pollinators all of whose activities are interconnected.

“Biodiversity is linked to the resilience of ecosystems. In agriculture, it ensures resilience to the impacts of climate change.”

The statement quoted one of HOMEF’s volunteers, Benita Siloko as saying that: “The functioning of ecosystems and the services they provide depend on biodiversity and environmental condition.

“Given that human activities are causing loss of biodiversity and changing environmental conditions, it is necessary that these consequences are better understood to enable societal responses and actions.

“Attention is called to the fact that millions of species of plants and animals are at the brink of extinction mainly due to human activities.

“Deforestation, overhunting/overfishing, oil pollution, genetic modification of crops/excessive use of toxic chemicals are some of our activities which threaten biodiversity.

“The erosion of biodiversity will have serious implication on food production and ecosystems resilience. Consequences of biodiversity loss also include the emergence and spread of diseases such as COVID-19 amongst humans,” Siloko was quoted as saying.

The group recommended that to preserve biodiversity, a multi stakeholders’ collaboration was required.

According to the group, the team of young environmentalists and ecological defenders, governments, private sector and the general public should collectively make efforts to preserve biodiversity.

The team outlined the following as some of the ways to protect biodiversity:

“We must shift from the mind set of competition that entrenches the harms done to the environment, while in pursuit of economic growth. We need to work in harmony with nature instead of against it.

“We should leave what is in the wild in the wild and desist from over consumption. We should stop pollution and learn to live sustainably with respect for natural laws and cycles.”

HOMEF stressed that government needed to make and implement laws to protect endangered species.

“We should focus on eco-friendly approaches to global challenges, including those of food and climate change.

“It is time to respect the integrity of our biodiversity and thus ward off intrusion of viruses such as the new coronavirus. A healthy biodiversity supports a healthy population,” the group said

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Obike Ukoh (NAN)



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